|Publication number||US7419917 B2|
|Application number||US 11/504,466|
|Publication date||Sep 2, 2008|
|Filing date||Aug 15, 2006|
|Priority date||Feb 17, 2005|
|Also published as||US7419915, US20060183330, US20060276040|
|Publication number||11504466, 504466, US 7419917 B2, US 7419917B2, US-B2-7419917, US7419917 B2, US7419917B2|
|Inventors||Margaret H. Abraham|
|Original Assignee||The Aerospace Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (4), Classifications (16), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application is a continuation of applicant's copending application entitled Laser Assisted Chemical Etching Method for Release of Microscale and Nanoscale Devices, Ser. No.: 11/061,485, filed Feb. 17, 2005.
The invention relates to the field of methods of forming microelectromechanical systems, semiconductor devices and optical devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to ion implantation and laser assisted chemical etching of microscale and nanoscale devices.
The global market for MEMS devices and nanotechnology is well established and currently is over eight billion dollars per year. Currently most microeletromechanical systems (MEMS) are constructed using modified versions of VLSI technology wherein layers of silicon nitride, silicon dioxide, and polysilicon are successively grown and patterned using photolithography. This process is inherently costly and time consuming, as there are typically as many as seven growth and lithography steps. The process is also limited by the resolution of the lithography and wet or dry etch processes to the extent that nanoscale devices are not easily achievable.
Continuous oxide films have been implanted into silicon using a SIMOX process. An O+ ion broad area beam is used for creating an unpatterned buried film under the surface of and into bulk silicon. The thickness of the buried film is determined by the concentration dose of the ion broad area beam. The bulk silicon with the buried oxygen film is then annealed to create a silicon dioxide SiO2 buried film in bulk silicon. Such buried films would normally be destroyed by conventional etching processes and are unsuitable for creating nanoscale devices, that is, ion broad area beams would not be used for creating nanoscale devices because there would be no suitable etching process for releasing the nanoscale SiO2 MEMS. The standard application is to create an electrical barrier in VLSI bulk silicon.
Typically, silicon MEMS devices are fabricated where a silicon dioxide SiO2 film is used as a sacrificial layer. Deposited or thermally grown films are used for creating layers that are patterned by photolithography and then etched away. The resolution of this process is unsuitable for making nanoscale features. Typically, MEMS devices are then released using a wet or vapor phase hydrofluoric acid to dissolve the silicon dioxide across the whole wafer at all levels. In practical terms, the wet or vapor process is limited to making polysilicon devices, as there is currently no simple means for doing the opposite. That is, there is no good method of cleanly removing the silicon while selectively leaving the silicon dioxide to form a three-dimensional structure. Therefore, the device material is restricted to polysilicon even when silicon dioxide is integral to the process. MEMS devices are typically created using conventional photolithography processes having multiple steps with limited resolution, and hence unsuitable for manufacturing of nanoscale devices.
Laser assisted chemical etching using chlorine gas has been used to etch bulk silicon. Silicon dioxide structures have been defined using standard lithographic techniques and VLSI processing. Commonly used wet etches, like EDTA or KOH, can remove silicon but are difficult to handle and the etch selectivity is highly temperature dependent. Further, wet etching of removed silicon dioxide creates stiction in the MEMS device as the surface tension of the drying liquid draws the small devices down onto the substrate. Xenon difluoride and bromine trifluoride in the vapor phase have been used to selectively remove silicon and leave silicon dioxide or nitride but the process can be very aggressive and hard to isolate and control. These release processes disadvantageously limit the ability to use the rest of the wafer for other electrical or packaging purposes and make these processes poor candidates for production environments. In the case of integrating electronics and packaging, industry is searching for improved methods, such as an electronics first method that deposits the electronics first and then uses the MEMS process to create further structures, or such as, a MEMS first method that conversely creates the MEMS first and is followed with the deposition of electronics and packaging. Neither the electronics first or the MEMS first methods are particularly suitable for high yield processes. These and other disadvantages are solved or mitigated using the invention.
An object of the invention is to provide a method for forming a patterned buried layer.
Another object of the invention is to provide a method for forming a patterned buried layer of silicon dioxide in bulk silicon.
Another object of the invention is to provide a method for forming a patterned buried layer of silicon carbide in bulk silicon.
Another object of the invention is to provide a method for forming a patterned buried layer of silicon nitride in bulk silicon.
Another object of the invention is to provide a method for forming a patterned buried layer of metal silicides in bulk silicon.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide a method for chemical etching about a patterned buried layer.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a method for chemical etching about a patterned buried layer of silicon dioxide in bulk silicon.
A further object of the invention is to provide a method for laser-assisted chemical etching about a patterned buried layer of silicon dioxide in bulk silicon.
Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a method for laser-assisted chemical etching about a patterned buried layer of silicon dioxide in bulk silicon for creating microscale and nanoscale devices.
Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a method for laser-assisted chemical etching about a patterned buried layer in bulk silicon with laser-assisted chemical vapor deposition of a metal for creating microscale and nanoscale devices.
The invention in a first aspect creates buried patterned films in a bulk material, such as a silicon dioxide patterned film in bulk silicon, using a focused ion beam or a broad area ion beam and a mask. The invention in a second aspect uses laser-assisted chemical etching for etching bulk silicon away from a patterned buried film. The etching is with such precision that microscale and nanoscale devices, such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), can be fabricated. In the preferred form, a laser is used to precisely heat an area about a buried film so that the localized heat enhances the chemical etching of the substrate for releasing nanoscale patterned structures that exist in or on the silicon wafer.
The method is preferably for making MEMS/NEMS type structures using patterned implants. In this instance, the device is defined by the implantation of ion species, for example to create imbedded stoichiometric SiO2 film, or by the disordering of the Si material. The buried film is formed either using standard lithography to mask the implant from certain regions, or using a direct write focused ion beam. Further control of the release of the structure is achieved using laser direct write chemical etching, reactive ion etching, or wet etching.
Using the method, devices can be fabricated with microscale or nanoscale dimensions using implanted ions. The resolution of the device is defined by the ion beam implant pattern resolution and dose. The resulting thicknesses are on the order of thousands of Angstroms and may be patterned using lithography or by direct write with a focused ion beam. Hence, these imbedded structures are inexpensive to prototype using direct write focused ion beams. The process can be scaled up for mass production by using two or three mask layers and broad ion implantation. The method does not require the growth of layers of various oxides and nitrides on a substrate, a process that has traditionally introduced run-to-run variation in the VLSI process.
The method is preferably used for releasing silicon dioxide three-dimensional MEMS/NEMS type structures using laser assisted chemical etching. A laser light with a wavelength impinging on the surface of the wafer that is transparent to the device being released, that is, patterned silicon dioxide, but absorbed in the substrate, such as silicon, is used. The laser heats the surface below or above to enhance the chemical etch of the silicon. The control of the release of the silicon dioxide structure using laser direct write chemical etching is improved and provides for isotropic etching. Additionally, certain parts of the bulk silicon may be left intact, or reserved, to form packages or patterned with microelectronics, as part of the device. Further, by selecting various laser wavelengths and chemistries, the method can be utilized to release other materials, implanted or otherwise, that are currently not part of standard MEMS processes.
The method can be extended to materials used to make MEMS, to insulators, and conductors. The method enables the release of devices on the nanometer scale without causing additional stresses or stiction which would normally damage these small structures. Further, the ability to integrate the MEMS devices with standard on-chip microelectronics, created before the release, is a direct result of the direct write process. The methods allows for post packaging release of the MEMS device, which can lead to high yields of working devices. These and other advantages will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment.
An embodiment of the invention is described with reference to the figures using reference designations as shown in the figures. Referring to
The method is a process that utilizes the transmission of the laser light through the layer being released to heat the surface below. This enables the light to enhance the etching of the layer beneath in a fashion that is controlled in all axes and does not cause stiction or damage to the device. The chlorine etch is nonreactive with silicon at room temperatures but readily reacts with a surface that has been laser heated. Therefore, the bulk silicon material removed is the heated silicon leaving behind the patterned silicon dioxide and unheated areas of the silicon.
The method can be applied to MEMS/NEMS by showing that the silicon dioxide transmits the laser light and removes silicon from beneath the oxide MEMS device. By simultaneously manipulating the chemistry of various vapor phase etches and the laser wavelength, a device can be released from a silicon wafer. This release process relies on the device being transparent, such as SiO2, to the laser and non-reactive to the gas while the surrounding area is absorptive and readily etches in the gas at elevated temperatures. As such, voids can be written in the silicon wafer around the device, or buried patterned layer. Additionally, the method can remove silicon or polysilicon that is buried under the transparent layers, such as SiO2 patterned buried layers. The depth of the material removed depends on the laser power and number of laser passes, so that the process is controllable in three dimensions. By adjusting the laser wavelength to a wavelength that is transmitted by the device material, and the chemistry to an appropriate etch for the release material, the method can be applied to MEMS/NEMS materials. The scale of the device released is unaffected by the release process so that nanoscale and microscale devices and can be fabricated and released. The same method of using laser light transmitted through the patterned film can be used to deposit a metal film in the cavity.
Implant structures can be defined using a focused beam to direct write the embedded oxide or by standard lithographic techniques using thick patterned masks to define areas open to a broad beam implant. The implant depth and thickness is defined by the beam energy and dose respectively. The implant is then annealed to form stoichiometric films imbedded in the wafer. If the implant is not annealed, then the silicon above the imbedded structure is disordered. By manipulating the chemistry of various etches, including but not limited to laser assisted direct write etches, new amorphous alloy or crystalline species can be released from the bulk wafer or open voids in the wafer in the case of disordered areas. This is accomplished by utilizing the different etch rates associated with different materials and different stoichiometries. Multiple imbedded layers can be constructed by varying the implant energy to create complex three-dimensional structures.
This invention in a first aspect is directed to the creation of buried pattern films using an ion beam, and in a second aspect is directed to laser assisted chemical etching to precisely etch around a buried pattern film, having application to MEMS and semiconductor fabrication processes. A method is suitable to mass production of MEMS/NEMS and semiconductor devices. Three-dimensional structures composed of new materials can be made allowing for new chemical species that cannot easily be grown or deposited. Due to precise laser assisted chemical etching, the method can be used to fabricate microscale and nanoscale devices limited by the size of the implanted regions. The method can extend the materials used to make MEMS, to insulators and to conductors, while maintaining the ability to integrate MEMS devices with standard on-chip microelectronics. The type of bulk substrate used may be expanded to other materials. The method can also be applied to experimentation with materials that have better tribological properties and different electrical and mechanical properties. The process can be performed after packaging to enhance yields and reliability. Further, the method can be used to trim silicon masses in resonators and oscillators to provide fine-tuning of parameters such as the operating frequency. Different materials can be selected for differing devices. Those skilled in the art can make enhancements, improvements, and modifications to the invention, and these enhancements, improvements, and modifications may nonetheless fall within the spirit and scope of the following claims.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8269931||Sep 14, 2009||Sep 18, 2012||The Aerospace Corporation||Systems and methods for preparing films using sequential ion implantation, and films formed using same|
|US8368155||Aug 26, 2010||Feb 5, 2013||The Aerospace Corporation||Systems and methods for preparing freestanding films using laser-assisted chemical etch, and freestanding films formed using same|
|US8946864||Mar 16, 2011||Feb 3, 2015||The Aerospace Corporation||Systems and methods for preparing films comprising metal using sequential ion implantation, and films formed using same|
|US9048179||Nov 21, 2013||Jun 2, 2015||The Aerospace Corporation||Systems and methods for preparing films using sequential ion implantation, and films formed using same|
|U.S. Classification||438/766, 438/738, 438/690, 257/E21.339, 257/E21.252, 257/E21.002, 438/743|
|Cooperative Classification||H01L21/31116, H01L21/26533, B81C2201/0143, B81C1/00484, B81C2201/0132|
|European Classification||B81C1/00F2R10, H01L21/311B2B, H01L21/265A4|
|Aug 15, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AEROSPACE CORPORATION, THE, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ABRAHAM, MARGARET H.;HELVAJIAN, HENRY;JANSON, SIEGFRIED W.;REEL/FRAME:018185/0344
Effective date: 20050215
|Jan 27, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4